Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Game 6 Bruins-Bolts ref at centre of attention

Categories: BOS vs. TAM, Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning

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Tampa Bay's power play was lethal in Game 6. (Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images) Tampa Bay's power play was lethal in Game 6. (Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)
Before Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final, Tampa coach Guy Boucher was asked about referee Eric Furlatt. In the three previous Lightning playoff games that Furlatt had officiated, the calls were 22-13 in favour of the opposition.

On May 17, in a 6-5 Bruins win, Tampa was called for eight penalties to the Bruins' six. On April 25, in Tampa's 4-2 win over Pittsburgh, the Lightning were tagged with seven penalties to the Penguins' four. On April 13, Tampa lost to Pittsburgh 3-0. Tampa was whistled for seven penalties while Pittsburgh was called for three.

"Yes, I'm aware of it. Very aware of it. Very, very aware of it," Boucher said before Game 6. "It has been a part of our discussions quite a few times in the last games when we did have that particular ref. And it is lopsided. But the only thing we can control is what we do on the ice, and hope that things will be fair like it is with everybody else."

In Game 6, both teams were called for five penalties. The Bruins had five power plays to Tampa's four. Nathan Horton was called for roughing at the end of the game.

"I don't know if I agree with those calls," Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the game. "Hopefully what was said today didn't have any impact on that. Because if it did, I'd be really disappointed."

"When you hear what happened today, I guess it certainly makes things look even worse," Julien added later during his post-game press conference. "Referees have a tough job to do. One thing you don't want to do is criticize them. You're allowed to agree or disagree. But they've got a tough job to do. My job is not to criticize them. But it was something that was tough to swallow tonight."

After the game, Boucher was asked about Julien's disappointment in the calls.

"I was asked that. I didn't bring that up myself. So I was asked," Boucher said of his comments earlier in the day. "People put numbers in front of me. Those are the facts, the numbers. If you're asking me, power plays are 5-4 for them tonight. They were 3-0 for them at the start of the game in the first period. It was 4-1 for them before we got our other power play. So I don't know who got the advantage today. We got less power plays than them."

Special teams rule

Where the Bruins scored on only one of their five power plays, Tampa hit the back of the net three times on their four opportunities.

At 7:55 of the second, Martin St. Louis backhanded a short-range shot through Tim Thomas. At 13:35 of the second, Teddy Purcell scored his second goal of the night, this time with Rich Peverley in the box for interference.

Steven Stamkos ended the parade of PPGs at 0:34 of the third. With Andrew Ference in the box for cross-checking, Stamkos took a pass from Eric Brewer and hammered home one of his trademark one-timers from the left circle to give the Lightning a 4-2 lead.

"More poise," Boucher said of the difference in the power play. "The last two games, one of our power plays had a lot of poise and the other one didn't. I think today, both power plays had a lot more poise. We got the results out of the poise that we had with the puck, managing it a lot better."

The Bruins broke through on their final power play of the night. Vincent Lecavalier was sent off for hooking at 8:12 of the third. On the following power play, Nathan Horton found David Krejci in front for a tap-in past Dwayne Roloson at 9:46 of the third. Krejci's goal made it a 4-3 game. But St. Louis came back 29 seconds later to score on a give-and-go play with Steve Downie.

"Obviously it was a difference-maker," Julien said of special-teams play. "They scored three goals on the power play. It took us a long time to get our first one. That certainly dictated the game. What was more disappointing is probably the fact that I don't know if I agree with those calls."

Big guns strike

The Lightning finally saw all their star players contribute in one game. St. Louis scored two goals and one assist. Stamkos recorded a goal and two assists. Lecavalier had two helpers.

It was especially crucial for the stars to emerge because Sean Bergenheim was unavailable because of an undisclosed injury. Blair Jones moved up to Bergenheim's spot on the third line. Dana Tyrell skated on the fourth line with Nate Thompson and Adam Hall.

"I was expecting a big game from those guys," Boucher said. "But I disagree that they didn't have big games in the last games. Looking at the scoreboard, there's more to the game than just scoring goals and having points. They had very good games before. It just wasn't going in for some of them. For some other guys, it was going in. They just got the result of their previous games' hard work. I don't think it's an on and off switch. It's something you build every game. They got what they deserved."